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Thread: Panatomic-x characteristic

  1. #1
    I exist, therefore I am
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Göteborg, Sweden

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    I shoot a lot of Polaroid type 55. And that is Panatomic-X (or so everybody says). The "normal" film dissapered before I started doing b/w so I don't know anything about it but I do love the tonality of type 55. So (here's the question) which modern film today is closest in apperance to Panatomic-x? Does anybody have an old curve or similar so I would have something to compare with? And yes, I've searched the both the archive and the whole www. Nada.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    Steve Anchell, author of "The Darkroom Cookbook", and others claim that Bergger 200 (Fortepan) is the closest equivalent. It reportedly is a thick emulsion, silver-rich film.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    Joakim, I have a long roll (5"X200') of aerial recon Panatomic X I shoot in the 5X7. In the past I've shot it in 4X5 (cut at 4" instead of 7") but since I have to develop it in a tray a sheet at a time it's too much bother for 4X5. It is unique. It's more like Kodak tech pan but without all the headaches. I rate it at asa 32. Contrast goes balistic and I have a hard time holding any of the pyro's to 5 minutes. The estar base that the aerial recon stuff is on does not take stain from pyro. The plus side is that when you have a gray low contrast day and a subject that will work well the negs you make with this stuff are completely grainless. You can't even focus with a grain magnifier. It shows up on feebay once in a while. I wouldn't say it acts or looks like type 55 polaroid though which to me has always been a bit flat.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949 I am "tpahjim" on ebay See Something U Want, Talk 2 Me Here

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    Pan-X was a "traditional" slow film; fine-grained, short-scale- which means contrasty. You needed to be quite careful with exposure and development to get the best from it. Obviously it's a long time since I've shot Panatomic- but in its time, the closest comparison would have been Ilford Pan-F. So perhaps the current version of that film is worth a try. The slow Efke films might also be comparable.

  5. #5
    Ted Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    New Hampshire

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    I used to shoot two emulsions in the studio for figure studies, Pan X and Adox KB14. Panatomic X is long long gone as you know. Adox KB14 is still mor eor less with us as EFKE 25. Since it has been nearly 30 years it is difficult to remember the characteristics of the two films and unfortunately most of my negatives from taht period were destroyed when the lab where I stored them went bankrupt ( a sad story I will not go into). I just took a look through some of the negaties that remain and at some of the contact prints and the words that come most readily to mind are sharp and contrasty (applies to both as both were fine grain slow films). It is difficult to comment on the resolution of the film since the accutance is so high that you have an impression of incredible sharpness.

    Looking at the negatives I tend to agree, and that is my memory too, with the eariler comment on short tonal scale. Mostly I remember that it was the perfect film for using in controled lighting situations where I wanted smooth transitions from black to white and stark constrasts between various aprts of the image. Also fabulous for capturing detail in shadow areas. In addition to shooting it in LF sheets it was my film of choice to use for 35mm.

  6. #6

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    I once heard a story about some guy who liked Panatomic-X so much and he thought Polaroid Type 55 was so similar, that he would shoot Type 55, remove it from the holder without processing it, take it home, open the packet in the dark, remove the exposed but undeveloped negative, and develop it in D-76.

  7. #7

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    Ilford Pan F is close but not having used Efke 25 I cannot go further than that.

  8. #8

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    I got a roll of 5 inch wide Panatomic-X and made a precision cutter in 4X5 and the cut film fits great in all film holders. Yes, it is thin and must be tray developed. It seems to fit in the stainless processing hangers also for tank developing. Since grain is not a problem, I use D76 and get excellent tonal range and super sharpness. I sell on eBay in 4X5 and guarantee the film. Never had a complaint and receive good reports from professionals. Just search on Panatomic and you will likely find my ad.
    I am toying with making a 3 1/4 X 4 1/4 cutting jig for all those great Graflex RB SLRs out there which are selling for a SONG on eBay. I am running short of fim boxes so if anyone want to sell some, please let me know. (

  9. #9
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    "I once heard a story about some guy who liked Panatomic-X so much and he thought Polaroid Type 55 was so similar, that he would shoot Type 55, remove it from the holder without processing it, take it home, open the packet in the dark, remove the exposed but undeveloped negative, and develop it in D-76."

    This was not so odd a story. We (my old assistant Alan Labb and I) used to do it all the time before readyloads. It gave us a good film and the ability to control developement better without the field risks.

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  10. #10

    Panatomic-x characteristic

    I have Panatomic-X curves from the late 1970's and early 1980's. I shot a lot of 35mm and 120 Panatomic-X and develeped it in 1:50 Rodinal (one of my all-time favorite combinations). I have curves for it in a few other developers. I also have curves from the same era of Ilford Pan F and Agfa 25 developed in 1:50 Rodinal.

    My current favorites are Efke 100, Efke 25 and Kodak TMAX 100 all developed in Pyrocat.

    I do have a 100 foot roll of 35mm Panatomic-X in the freezer. I've been thinking about loading up a cassete or two and testing it in Pyrocat.

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